Israeli opera adapts Mozart’s Magic Flute

A dark arachnid queen with massive legs that prevents her victims from fleeing, a bird hunter in a yellow suit, a face painted green, mechanically animated elephants, and a bearded sage in a top hat sitting under an all-seeing eye. These are but some of the elements that, together, make this new adaptation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute one of the most exciting and commented productions of the Israeli Opera this season.

Created jointly by 1927 Concept, a production company specializing in the fusion of animation and live theater, and the artistic director of Berlin’s Komische Opera, Barrie Kosky, this unique take on the famous opera became a hit from the time it first opened. time in 2015. After its success in China, the United States, Poland, Japan and Australia: now Israeli opera lovers can enjoy it too.

The magic flute, which gives the entire opera its name, is given to Tamino (Alasdair Kent) by the Queen of the Night (Eleonora Bellocci) so that she can save her daughter Pamina (Alla Vasilevitsky) from Sarastro (Taras Berezhansky). In this quest, Tamino is aided by Papageno (Theo Hoffman), who also receives magic bells for the same purpose. The two men will soon learn that the queen is far from honest in her dealings and will have to go through hardships before finding true love.

Since his first performance in 1791, cultural norms have changed somewhat and today’s audience might be surprised to hear Papageno present himself, in words written by Emanuel Schikaneder more than two centuries ago, as a bird hunter who would like to catch a bird. some girls, let’s say. in cages and sell them for sugar [Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja].

THE FIT, which is highly entertaining and visually beautiful, often winks at the audience. Papageno closely resembles the protagonist of the 1994 film The Mask. A suitable reference for a production that combines animation and live performance. As they are asked to pass various tests, Tamino and Papageno receive various medical injections. While Tamino obediently accepts them, Papageno refuses, a rare case of art that predicts the anti-vax movement.

A SCENE FROM the Israeli opera production of ‘The Magic Flute’. (credit: Magda Hueckel)

Since Sarastro intends to defeat the Queen of the Night with the power of male reason, one might have a subversive vision of the opera. It is true that in this tale, the Queen of the Night is destroyed as an evil boss in the final level of a computer game, but the power of music and emotions comes from her kingdom, not from the mechanic that Tamino wishes to join. .

The emotional peak of the night I attended was an impressive performance of “Hell’s Revenge Is Boiling In My Heart.” [Hell’s vengeance boils in my heart] with soprano Eleonora Bellocci, who morphed into a hideous insect-like mother who swears to her daughter that unless Pamina murders in her name, the queen will destroy all natural ties between them. Bellocci was rewarded with great applause from an appreciative and knowledgeable audience.

Perhaps the audience is too informed. When a man behind me realized that I was writing, he urged me to say that “audiences who attend premieres only do so to be shown, not for the love of music.”

“This is not true,” exclaimed a woman sitting next to me. “Although I feel ashamed on behalf of Mozart for what they did to him here,” she confessed.

“The video effects are wonderful on their own, but I don’t enjoy them. Mozart must be rolling in his grave. “

His opinion, given that the tickets are currently sold out and more performances have been added to meet the demand, it seems to be in the minority.

The Israel Opera had taken on a great project and had given music lovers the opportunity to enjoy, right here at home, an audience-pleasing adaptation of a much-loved opera. The parents around me no doubt brought their young children with the expectation that they could relate to an opera in which love is represented by a heart emoji, and they hope it turns out to be a front door opera, opening the door to more. to come. .

The Magic Flute will be shown on November 9 (Tuesday) and November 11 (Thursday) at 8 p.m. On November 12 (Friday) at 1 p.m. November 13 (Saturday) at 8 p.m. November 15 (Monday ) at 6 pm November 16 (Tuesday) at 8 pm and November 17 (Wednesday) at 8 pm German with English and Hebrew subtitles. Tickets cost between NIS 445 and NIS 395. The performance lasts for 2 hours and 45 minutes. I seriously suggest that those who suffer from arachnophobia do not attend.

For more information: or call (03) 692-7777. The Israel Opera is at 19 King Saul Boulevard, Tel Aviv. The audience is requested to present a Green Pass and wear a mask to attend the performance.

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